How to Have a Dream Staycation

It was early spring and we had just recently said: “I do”. When taking a conventional (out of town/state/country) honeymoon was out of the question due to the timing of work/graduate school, we knew we needed to plan the ultimate “staycation” instead. What we didn’t realize at the time was that our little staycation would end up rivaling our eventual honeymoon out of the country. Furthermore, our staycation would forever be remembered as one of the best weeks of our life. Wondering how you can plan and achieve your dream staycation? I’ve got you covered!

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WHAT is a staycation?

You may be wondering, “what exactly is a staycation”? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “A staycation is a vacation spent at home or nearby.” And, according to the “Simply September Dictionary” (a.k.a. yours truly), “A staycation is a time period where you allow yourself to take a hiatus from your daily adult responsibilities. Furthermore, it is a time where you actually get to attempt and enjoy every one of those activities that you once found yourself saying, “someday when life slows down, I want to try that” without a single ping of guilt.”

WHO can take a staycation?

As stated above, when we planned and took our first ever staycation, we took it as a newlywed couple (plus our dog!). While it is true that throwing “adulting” out the window was far easier without the responsibility of caring for children, I am here to tell all those curious and hopeful parents out there… all hope is not lost! We have since taken a staycation as a family (married couple, plus our toddler, baby, and dog) and it was phenomenal! Of course, we may have had to substitute a bar for a park or two… but who is counting ;).

HOW to take a staycation?

So now that you know you CAN take a staycation, you are probably wondering HOW. As a veteran staycationer (yes, I just made up my own word), below is my best advice for how to plan your dream staycation.

  1. CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULES. Whether you plan for a weeklong staycation or a long weekend staycation, either way… take the time off of work and make sure you have no appointments scheduled.
  2. LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA/TECHNOLOGY BREAK. Turn off your cell phones, put an automated message up on your email letting people know you will be on “vacation” for however long designated, let family know you won’t be around for everyday phone calls, don’t return non-emergent messages, don’t check Facebook… you get the idea.
  3. THROW YOUR SLEEP SCHEDULE OUT OF THE WINDOW. No setting your alarm and worrying about having to be somewhere at a specific time. Sleep in as long as desired and go to bed as early or late as desired… essentially throw away your everyday sleep schedule (note: I’m aware this is easier said than done if you have youngsters in on your staycation).
  4. DETERMINE THE TYPE OF STAYCATION. Just like with any vacation, the structure can vary. Perhaps you enjoy a heavily structured, busy vacation full of exploring and excursions. Not for you? Perhaps, you far more enjoy a relaxing, carefree vacation free of any structure or timelines. No matter the preference, you can’t go wrong with either one. However, determining your structure ahead of time will help you tremendously in structuring your staycation.
  5. AGREE TO TAKE A HOUSEWORK HIATUS. No cleaning, no grocery shopping, no mowing the lawn, NO housework! Sure, you are probably thinking… well, these things need to get done. While I know things come up (i.e. a winter staycation may require you to shovel snow so you can get out of your driveway, or a summer staycation may require you to water a plant or two); however, as hard as it may be, try to think like you are on vacation out of the country. If you were flying off to a tropical beach, the above things wouldn’t be getting done for that week, so why should this week be any exception to the rule? Stock up on groceries ahead of time, mow the lawn in preparation the week before… essentially, just free yourself up as much as feasible.
  6. SET ASIDE A BUDGET. When you go away on vacation, chances are you bring a set amount of money or discuss how much money you don’t want to surpass. The same rule applies here. Give yourself a budget and stick to it (or at least try ;)). Setting a budget to adhere to often significantly diminishes stress and who needs stress when you are on a staycation?!
  7. MAKE A STAYCATION BUCKET LIST. Whether you decide to include local “excursions” into your staycation or plan to never leave the home, you need a bucket list. In the weeks leading up to your staycation add to your list. Research local events in your community (places and activities you would never dream of doing when life is busy), jot down things that make you happy, etc. Then depending on whether you find yourself to be more of a planner or not, simply assign an activity per a day of your staycation, or go to your list as desired throughout the staycation for a more sporadic approach.

In search of inspiration?

If you are struggling with what to add to your bucket list, think about all the things that you’ve wanted to do but haven’t been able to lately due to “adulting”. Read a book, go to the movies, go hiking, take a bubble bath, get a pedicure, etc. If it sounds relaxing or elicits a happy emotion then add it to the list!

Here are some ideas from our personal staycations: taking a local cruise on a nearby lake, sitting by the beach, restaurant hopping for appetizers, going for long walks, reading endless books, going to an ice cream shop, going out to the movies, renting nightly movies, going out for every meal, taking a carefree car ride to nowhere in particular, having a bonfire, getting a massage, window shopping, park hopping with your kids, going for nightly family walks, going to the local pool, make some tropical drinks from home, sit at a local coffee shop, etc.

WHY take a staycation?

So now that I’ve helped you answer WHAT, WHO, and HOW in regards to a staycation, the only remaining question is WHY take a staycation? My answer… why not?! Generally speaking, staycations are far more affordable, require far less designated time (don’t have to allow travel days), can be taken more sporadically (usually don’t have to plan months ahead of time), and perhaps my favorite feature… they allow you to enjoy your personal hometown. Whether you live in a large metropolitan city or a small farm town where cows outnumber humans, I can almost guarantee you there are adventures left to be explored throughout your staycation!

Have you ever taken a staycation? What was your favorite feature? I’d love to hear from you below!

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  1. Sounds like a good plan… although I would HAVE to have us do some light housework each day… the end of the staycation would be too stressful if I had to deal with the work left after none of it being done for a week w/ a big family!

  2. Great post! We are just getting ready to take a staycation this month and my husband and I are super excited about it. With two toddlers, traveling for vacation can easily become daunting/exhausting! Since our house has been in super busy mode, we decided instead of tiring ourselves out with a vacation that we would do a staycation. For anyone who hasn’t tried a staycation… you should definitely give it a try! Thanks for sharing!


  3. These are all great tips for the ultimate staycation! Who says you have to go away to get away? Made me smile that your staycation is up there with those “best” memories! We love to travel, but always have a staycation or two each year too. Thanks for sharing with us Lindsay!

  4. I love this planning checklist! I took a week off work a couple of years ago without having a “reason” and it was amazing. I’ve been thinking of doing that again once we’re in our new apartment to learn the new area of the city we’ve moved to.

  5. We normally travel during the Summer because it gets so hot here in Tucson. We have been talking about having a staycation instead to save money. These are some great ideas for what to do!

  6. Hubby and I just recently did a weekend staycation for our 15th anniversary. I cleaned our whirlpool tub ahead of time until it sparkled, had the house straightened up, and packed the kids off to the grandparents. We went tubing on a nearby river, stopped at whatever shops our hearts desired, went out for steaks, enjoyed the tub, slept in late, went zip-lining, and rented movies. We agree that it was way better than anytime we’ve ever traveled for a vacation. So fun!

  7. This is what we did for our anniversary this year. We wanted to save up money for a big trip for our 10th next year. So we stayed at home and went to several places nearby that we had never been. We also stayed home a day or two and did nothing.
    We both loved it.
    🙂 gwingal

  8. Great posts with lots of tips. We’ve tried a staycation in the past but my husband has a job where he’s always getting calls. While he answers his phone no matter where we vacation a staycation often finds him needing to leave to go fix a problem… since we’re near enough that he can.

  9. I love the idea of a staycation, but always end up turning them into a ‘get things done’-cation. I should have read these tips first. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

  10. Staycations are the best!!! I actually just wrote a blog coincidentally on almost this same topic. I am much older than you (58 here!!) , my son turns 30 on July 6. We moved to Atlanta from New York City last year but we are leaving tomorrow to head “home” to celebrate his 30th with him. Other than trips like this however I cannot remember the last time my husband and I actually went on a real vacation. No traffic… delays…..we highly recommend staycations!!!!!

  11. What a brilliant idea Lindsay. Going on vacation is becoming so expensive now and there are tons of things we’ve wanted to do close to home. I think we’ll be going on a staycation soon 😉

  12. Hi Lindsay! I’m on a personal staycation right now where my goal was to work on blogging projects that I haven’t been able to get to during my “regular” weeks. I had hours that needed to be used before the beginning of July so it was a perfect time to take it! It really is a great idea though in order to do things in your city that you never do, except when visitors are in town!

  13. Yes, we have, and one of the things we do is try at least one or two new-to-us or new to the town restaurants. I have a rule that I don’t cook on staycations, LOL, after all we’d be eating out every meal if we were out of town!

  14. Thanks for all the tips! The technology rule is the hardest part – even on a non-staycation vacation! My husband and I managed to do it last time we were away, but only because we were out of the country and roaming would have cost a fortune.

    1. So true, Amy! I first fell in love with the no technology rule when we too were out of the country on vacation and had no choice but to go technology free due to roaming charges. Finding it so therapeutic, we now try to apply it to all our staycations!

  15. Thanks so much for this timely post. My husband and I are trying to save as much money this year as we can (hoping to retire early), so a Staycation is really all we an do. This looks pretty do-able and your advice is spot are great. I especially like the social media hiatus.

    1. Thanks so much, Melissa! I hope you guys have a fantastic staycation! Also, congratulations on the plan to retire early! Sounds like many staycations are in your future soon enough!

  16. Yes, we’ve done it! We went to a very nearby lake early in the morning, built a campfire, and cooked steak, eggs, biscuits, and coffee for breakfast. Then we did nothing. Just sat and watched others boating, watched waves come in and clouds float by. I photographed a caterpillar. The weather became uncomfortable warm and we just went home. It was perfect, reviving, and I hope we do that again, at the same lake.
    Oh, we’re retired and kids are grown and gone. It felt like retirement. A wonder!

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